I have 3 kids- ds1(12), dd(10) and ds2(6). Ex and I split over the New Year after he admitted that ds1 and I were right and he was having an affair. He gaslighted us for 4 months.
They see him EOW and once midweek. I had to ask for this as the boys (ESP ds1) didn't like seeing him so often. Ds1 actually never wants access again as he is livid with his Dad.
I asked ex if we could have different access arrangements for each child. Dd would happily see him every day where as ds1 doesn't want to see him at all and ds2 is indifferent though tends towards doing whatever ds1 is doing. I suggested he see dd 3 nights a week and EOW, ds2 EOW and once mid-week and let ds1 decide if he wants to see his Dad.
I think that access should change according to the needs of the child and Im happy to increase/decrease depending on what will make each individual child happier. Forcing ds1 is surely going to make him angrier?
Ex is threatening to take me to court over ds1. I think he is old enough to have an opinion about contact and not forcing him to go could help him to heal and rebuild things with his Dad in the future. I don't think a court order is necessary. I see contact as something that will vary as the children grow up and their needs change. Am I being idealistic? Am I likely to get into legal trouble for letting ds1 choose amount of contact? His reasoning for less contact is very sound to me.
At 12 year old you cant really force him to go, encourage him to go yes.
you cant get in trouble unless there is a court order in place and from your post their isnt. Always better to arrange things between yourselves and next step would be mediation. If it goes to court the judge will probably order a wishes and feelings to be carried out on the children and they will listen very strongly to the 12 year old (probably be 13 by that time) and will not recommend anything more than what his wishes are.
yes but also be aware your ex will probably claim you are allienating your child from him, its not that cut and dry, all your children being spoken to by cafcass if not always nice for them or you. If he does get a court order for contact which is very possible, you will be on shakey ground if he doesnt go. Also they may increase contact etc for the other children, they will order contact for all the children not just one.
I think that DS1 would be pushed further away from your ex if he was dragged into a court case as think talking to cafcass would be very stressful for him.. If you feel at 12 he should have a say in a court case (which I agree with) then surley he is also old enough to sit down and have a full and frank conversation with your ex about it, which I would think would be better option for everyone. Could you not encourage that? If that does happen and/or other negotiations take place, keep a note of everything. You are doing the right thing to address it but I would make it formal but outside the court process.
i think you would be better off seeking family therapy for your ds and eventually ds and your ex and maybe all of you. it is not healthy for your ds to harbour anger against his dad - while he may be justified, it needs to be expressed in a safe and neutral place. if "all" that your ex has done is go off with a new woman and there are no welfare issues then you have to all learn to deal with it... your ex has left you and set up new home - but one hopes he has not wanted to "leave" his dc. yes to your ex/DS talking and sorting it out - but i think they might need help. court is not the right setting for this - family therapy is. and can be free on hns (tho there might be a wait list)
ask gp to refer you all to family therapy and get this ironed out in a setting which is going to be more conducive to helping all of you. and set out to your ex that you want things to improve but he is going to need to put in the work with DS in family therapy.
Thanks for all the replies.
Ds1 is under CAMHS care and has discussed his Dad with the nurse(?) It has improved my relationship with ds1 as we have both learned to communicate better but ex is not interested in the topic. Ds1 is my oldest and approaching the famously difficult teen years so I have welcomed CAMHs advice. I see parenting skills as something that I can always improve. Ex thinks that treating kids like your mate is fine and if they don't react as expected then shout or strop.
Ex refuses to go into therapy. He's admitted to ds1 that he (ex) needs to be in therapy but refuses to do so. Empty promises is one of the things that annoys ds1. He's also irritated how his Dad has gone from workaholic who was never around to sucking up to him by throwing money at him. He feels that his Dad is doing this out of guilt and to annoy me (his words to CAMHs nurse) based on how controlling he was when married. Ds1 sees contact as a waste of time- it usually ends up with ds1 and ds2 playing on the ps3 and dd texting her friends while ex watches TV in another room. Weekends with me involve TV/PS3 but also involve doing stuff with his friends or with me. Ex lives locally but refuses to do normal stuff like let him have mates round for sleepovers, borrow the laptop for homework, buy bits he needs like trainers for pe as his current ones are too small as these "infringe" on his time. Ex really doesn't know the kids- he couldn't name their best friends, teachers, favourite TV programmes.... and according to ds1 is not making any effort in that regard despite swearing to be a better father when he left. The children say that their Dad is moody and distant (although he's been fun and happy on a hsndful of contact visits). He's probably seen them 100 occasions since the split so not sure happy 5% of the time is good enough. Ds1 believes that the % should be higher considering that ex called all the shots and left a mess that me and the kids had to untangle.
Since the split, our house has become much happier- especially since I've put my foot down over contact. Ds2 and dd see him EOW (Fri night to Sunday afternoon) and every Tuesday night for an hour or so. Ds1 has told him directly that he doesn't want to see him and vaguely why but sees little point in doing so as he's aware that his Dad is self centred and good at saying the right thing and not following through. When he left he promised to be a great father and keep in contact but sends ds1 less than a handful of texts a week. Ex can be very volatile (shouting not physical abuse) so ds1 doesn't want the hassle of risking an outburst from him by bringing up specific incidents and using the names that he uses when discussing his Dad with me. (Dick, cunt, arse, twat etc )
I've explained to ex that I think ds1 would want to see him more if he made contact more meaningful and that it would be easier to do that if their time was shorter but more child focused. A whole weekend is hard to fill when you're not used to it but a few hours of playing sport or doing something else that he'd enjoy would yield great results but he considered that advice as me overstepping the mark.
It's his weekend this week and I've sent ds1 on a sleepover. I believe that ds1 is old enough to make this decision and 12 year olds should be having fun with their mates at weekends- not feeling angry and anxious about their father. Ex has agreed to play things by ear in the interests of ds1 (Probably because he doesn't want to fork out for a solicitor)
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